Tooth extractions are something that most people face at one point or another throughout life. There are several reasons you may be facing a tooth extraction, including:
- Dental injury
- Severe decay
- Advanced gum disease
- Dental abscess
- Impacted teeth
- Crowded teeth
When Is a Tooth Extraction Necessary?
A tooth that was damaged from an injury may not be able to be saved if the injury extended below the gum line or completely broke the tooth. There are times when the damage is so severe that there is no hope for saving the tooth.
Severe dental decay or advanced gum disease can permanently damage your teeth and jaw and make teeth extractions necessary. In some situations, a dental abscess can only be treated effectively if the tooth is removed. If you need a tooth extraction because of decay, disease, or infection, you will likely need other interventions to address the issues that led to the extraction in the first place.
Teeth extractions can also be part of the orthodontics process. Wisdom teeth are often removed to prevent future issues and maintain the alignment that was achieved through braces. An orthodontist may also recommend tooth extraction if your teeth are overly crowded.
If you need one or more teeth extracted, there are some things you should consider to make sure you are prepared for what happens after the procedure. Factors that are important to explore include tooth extraction healing time, foods to eat after tooth extraction, tooth extraction cost without insurance, and tooth extraction cost with insurance.
Tooth Extraction Healing Stages
Tooth extraction healing happens in stages because different parts of your mouth must heal. The tooth extraction healing stages include the healing of your jawbone and the healing of your gums. The time it takes for your jawbone to heal is different from the amount of time it takes for your gums to heal.
The stages of tooth extraction healing depend on the type of extraction you need. The two main types of tooth extractions are surgical and simple. A surgical tooth extraction involves making an incision to get to the part of the tooth that needs to be removed. A simple tooth extraction involves removing a tooth that is easy to access and does not require an incision.
For both types of tooth extractions, the area where the root was removed must heal. A simple extraction of a tooth that is erupted (above the surface of the gums) will leave a void in the jaw bone where the root was. Typically, a simple extraction will heal without any major intervention.
A surgical extraction can be much more involved because it requires cutting through soft tissue and bone to get all the roots and tooth structure out. In some situations, this type of extraction requires closing up the wound with stitches. Healing will take a little longer with a surgical extraction because more trauma occurs to the gums and the bone.
The healing process from an extraction will start in the hours following the procedure and can take several weeks to be healed completely. You will likely experience some minor pain, tenderness, bleeding, and swelling around the area after an extraction. In the hours after the surgery, blood clots will start to form, and the bleeding will slow and then stop. If you need stitches after the extraction, those will help in the healing process as well.
What Should a Tooth Extraction Look Like When Healing?
Immediately following your tooth extraction, you may notice that the area looks swollen and red. It is common to have some swelling and bleeding after an extraction. The bleeding should subside within a few hours of your procedure, and the swelling will go down within a few days.
The extraction site can look sunken or has a small crater in it once the swelling goes down. This is because the root from the tooth was also removed and left a void in the jawbone. In some situations, people need a bone graft to build the area back up and prepare for a dental implant. Your dentist will talk to you about options for replacing the tooth you had extracted if necessary. If your jawbone is healthy, you may be able to get a dental implant without needing a bone graft.
If you notice that your extraction site is still bleeding or continues to be inflamed and painful beyond the normal healing time, it is important to get in touch with your dentist. Possible issues after getting a tooth extraction include infection and dry socket. Both of these issues need to be addressed by your dentist.
What Can I Eat After a Tooth Extraction?
In the days that follow a tooth extraction, you need to pay close attention to what you eat. Stick with soft foods that are easy to chew. Examples of foods that are easy to eat after a tooth extraction include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
Things to Avoid Immediately After a Tooth Extraction
There are also some things you need to avoid immediately after having a tooth extracted. Do not drink anything through a straw immediately following an extraction because it can pull out your blood clots and cause pain and possibly bleeding – this is called a ‘dry socket.’ Smoking can cause similar issues. You should also avoid foods that are hard, sharp, or can easily get stuck in the extraction area. Examples of foods you should avoid after a tooth extraction include:
- Hard candy
- Sticky foods
Tooth Extraction Cost Without Insurance
Tooth extractions can be costly if you do not have insurance. There is a broad range of potential costs because of the different types of extractions. A simple extraction of one tooth that does not require anesthesia or cutting can potentially cost less than $100. A surgical extraction that involves anesthesia and cutting through soft tissue and bone can cost you thousands of dollars out of pocket when you do not have insurance. Your dentist will give you an exact number on the cost based on your specific needs.
If you are facing a tooth extraction but have no insurance, there are some options you should consider. You can look into dental plans and financing through Smile Generation to find an option that will save you money and allow you to get the dental care you need. Your dentist may also offer payment options or special financing for expensive procedures. It is important to talk to your dentist about costs and options before going in for your procedures. You may be able to take a few proactive steps and significantly reduce the amount of money you pay out of pocket for the procedure.
Tooth Extraction Cost with Insurance
A good dental insurance plan will help offset the costs of getting a tooth extracted. You may be able to reduce the amount you pay for a tooth extraction by 50% or more with a quality dental insurance plan. You will have to talk with your doctor about the procedure and look at your insurance details to determine the exact cost of having a tooth extracted. Factors like your deductible and the benefits of your policy will impact the amount your dental insurance covers. Typically, the dentist will give you an estimate of what you will need to pay out of pocket before you go in for the tooth extraction.
Find a Dentist Near You
The right dentist will have a big impact on your experience of getting a tooth extracted. General dentists can do simple extractions in office. More complex extractions that involve removing multiple teeth or cutting into the soft tissue and bone will need to be done by an oral surgeon. The right dentist for you will depend on why you need a tooth extraction and the type of extraction you need.
If you need an extraction because you have an injured tooth or crowded teeth, look for a general dentist who offers tooth extraction services. For a simple extraction, you can see a dentist who provides general dentistry services.
If you need an extraction because you have impacted teeth, a tooth abscess, or teeth damaged from gum disease or decay, you should seek an oral surgeon. In these situations, a surgical extraction is usually needed. This type of extraction involves cutting into the gums and possibly the bone to remove every part of the tooth. You should look for a dentist who has the tools and experience needed to do complex extractions.
You can find a general dentist or oral surgeon near you by using the Find a Dentist tool from Smile Generation. This tool makes it easy for you to search a network of trusted local dentists and find the right one for you. Smile Generation also offers financing options and a dental plan for patients who do not have dental insurance. You can explore the financing options and look for a dentist through the Smile Generation website.